How Do Auctions Work?

By: Clifton Hess

Auctions can be great fun, as well as a way of finding great antique items at a bargain basement price. However for those who are not used to the way an auction works, attending an auction, or listing an item for sale can be a daunting experience.

By their very nature auctions are fast paced, so it can be difficult to try and learn as you go. As such, the below guide is designed to help you develop an understanding of the way in which an auction works before you attend one for the first time.

Listing Items

Listing an item for sale is possibly the simplest way to take part in an auction. If you have something you would like to sell at auction, you can take it along to a local auction house and they can handle the entire process for you. They will display the item and place it up for bidding on auction day. For their services, the auction house will take a cut of the final price that is achieved the actual percentage will change depending on the specific auction house. This system ensures that the auctioneer has a vested interest in getting you the highest possible price for your items.

Browsing Items For Sale

If you would much prefer to just buy items at auction, your first step is to go to the auction house, or view the catalogue and browse the items on offer. In the days, or even weeks leading up to an auction, all the items that will be sold are placed on display. This allows you to view them and ensure they meet your needs and expectations due to the nature of auctions there is no time for indecision while bidding!

Registering To Bid

If you have found some items which you would like to bid on, you must then register as a bidder for the auction. This is a way of preventing shill bidding. It also ensures that everyone engaged in the auction is serious and that their bids can be tracked. After registering, you will be assigned a number. This will be your identifier and you will show it as you bid. If you happen to win an item, your number will be noted this confirms you as the winner as well as how much you owe for the item.


Bidding is quite often fast paced and can seem daunting, however once you get the hang of it is really great fun! Some auction houses may have specific rules on minimum bid amounts, which can even change depending on the value of the item. Any rules for bidding will be made clear before an auction. If you are at all worried it may be best to watch how a few auctions run before jumping in yourself.

Finalising The Sale

As above, when you win the bidding on an item, your unique bidder registration number is recorded. Once you have finished bidding in the days auctions, it is time for you to finalise the sale by paying for your items and collecting them.

For more information, or to get involved, visit your local auction house today!

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Auctions are great fun and are a great way of finding antique furniture at a bargain basement price. For more information on the same, click here!

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